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I anledning af den 25. årsdag for stipendier fra det Tyske Akademiske Flygtningsinitiativ Albert Einstein (DAFI) arrangerer UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) udstillingen The Other One Percent. Den kan opleves i København fra april til juli, efter den allerede er blevet fremvist i Paris, Geneve, New York og Davos.
Udstillingen fortæller historien om studerende flygtninge fra Kenya og Jordan, der har trodset alle hyrder, grænser og skæbnen for at genvinde kontrollen over deres liv og for at opnå succes på egne præmisser. Historien handler om individer, der ikke lod sig kue af deres svære livssituation og ville leve deres eget liv, og om de tiltag, der har hjulpet dem på deres vej.
De kvinder og mænd, som bliver præsenteret her, blev tvunget til at flygte, men de valgte alligevel at blive studerende. Selvom mulighederne var få og den finansielle byrde stor, og der lå sproglige og kulturelle forhindringer i deres vej. Dertil kommer de problemer, som det gav dem at have status som flygtninge.
Effektive programmer som dem fra DAFI og Connected Learning Opportunities hjælper med at overvinde de værste vanskeligheder og baner vej for en uddannelse, der er et af de vigtigste trin ud af deres situation og hen imod et selvbestemt liv.
Udstillingen støttes af det Tyske Udenrigsministerie.
Åbningstale fra ambassadør Meitzner - det talte ord gælder
Thank you very much for inviting me to the opening of this exhibition, which gives us the opportunity to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the DAFI program. Since 1992, this program has provided refugees in different parts of the world with scholarships to enab le them to pursue higher education in their host countries. The program is funded mostly through the German government, while UNHCR takes care of the implementation, thus ensuring a high level of expertise through its familiarity with refugee work and presence in the field.
DAFI is an acronym for the German title of the program, which in full length is called Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative. It does not come as a surprise that the program bears the name of the famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner. Albert Einstein himself was subject to discrimination and prosecution. Born to a Jewish family in Germany, he left Germany for good after the Nazi’s rise to power. Eventually, he settled in the United States, from where he helped several other Jewish scientists to flee from Germany.
One of many quotations attributed to Albert Einstein says: “I’m more interested in the future than in the past, because the future is where I intend to live”.
The DAFI program is definitely apt to bring about a better future - for the scholarship-holders themselves, 95 % of whom manage to find a job after graduation; their families, who can expect financial support from the successful graduate; and their home-countries, who benefit from the skills and qualifications once the refugees are able to return.
The program has proved to be not only efficient but also flexible. Unfortunately, many new conflicts have arisen since 1992, forcing people to leave their homes. The DAFI program has adapted to new needs and includes now for example scholars from Syria among its beneficiaries. To respond to recent developments in the Middle East the German government has increased its funding substantially since 2016, allowing a record of about 6,700 refugees from 50 countries to receive a DAFI scholarship in 2017.By giving refugees the opportunity to reach a university degree, the DAFI program contributes to the implementation of one of the 17 sustainable development goals that were adopted by the United Nations in 2015, namely to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Let me finish with a quotation from Alaa, a young woman from Syria, who attends university in Jordan thanks to a DAFI scholarship. She sums up her happiness about the possibility to pursue higher education by saying: “You see colours other than just the colour of the desert.” This statement describes how a DAFI scholarship can open up new perspectives and make a huge difference in the lives of the beneficiaries.
Thank you for your attention.